Boeing could be forced to scrap its plans for the largest variant of its embattled 737 MAX jet, the MAX 10, over possible regulatory issues.
The 737 MAX 10 is Boeing’s answer to the Airbus A321neo and has seen over 600 orders in the last five years, with the largest customer being United Airlines.
However, Boeing chief executive Dave Calhoun said the aircraft could be axed entirely unless the US planemaker can secure its certification by December this year.
The aircraft remains on the chopping block due to a new law — introduced in 2020 and enforced as of December 2022 — that introduces new requirements on aircraft flight decks.
At present, Boeing is attempting to secure an extension to the December deadline, in case it fails to secure certification before then.
Should lawmakers refuse to grant the extension, and the planemaker fail to achieve certification before the deadline, the MAX 10 would require a total redesign of its flight deck to include a new regulated alerting system.
Boeing said such a task would not only cost additional time and resources, but also see the plane lose its coveted commonality with its other MAX variants.
“The [MAX 10] is a little bit of an all-or-nothing,” Calhoun told Aviation Week, “I think our case is persuasive enough … This is a risk I’m willing to take. If I lose the fight, I lose the fight.”
“We believe in this airplane, period,” he added. “We believe the intent of the counterparties that negotiated the [new requirement] time frame wanted this airplane covered. And I find very few voices that would suggest otherwise.”
Calhoun said that while cancelling the MAX 10 program isn’t a likely outcome it is still “a risk” given the circumstances.
Regardless, the embattled planemaker remains confident that in any case, it will be able to handle the outcomes.
“If you go through the things we’ve been through, the debts that we’ve had to accumulate, our ability to respond, or willingness to see things through, even a world without the -10 is not that threatening,” Calhoun said.